The Courage to Explore Your Mind
As most of the land on this planet has been mapped using the latest of technology including global positioning systems, the Earth explorers of today are arguably not quite as intrepid as their predecessors. Now, those with a desire to explore new lands, are either heading to the depths of the oceans in submersibles or working out how to get to planets like Mars and start exploring new territories far away from Earth.
While we often think of explorers as those who seek to discover new lands, there are other kinds of explorers – those intrepid souls who explore the limits of their own minds. It can be scary to pause for a moment and consider whether everything you know and believe is just a matter of social conditioning or whether you know and believe something because you explored the limitless boundaries of your mind to come to your own conclusions. Epistemology is the philosophy which examines how we come to know something. There are numerous theories about how we acquire knowledge but more importantly it takes the courage of an explorer to want to examine the foundations of your own beliefs. The reason is takes courage to explore the foundations of your beliefs about anything is because you might look at the foundation and find that it is a house built on weak footings. Once you look and examine, you can never turn back. This is why so few people want to question everything they have been told or everything they have learned. What do you do once you realize your beliefs might not be strong enough to stand up to your investigation?
We will leave the contentious beliefs such as god and religion out of this discussion but let’s take a look at a seemingly less volatile topic such as your belief about success or your belief about money. If you believe things like, “money is the root of all evil” or “money can’t buy happiness”, where do these suppositions come from? For many of us they are passed down from our families and social conditioning. How about your beliefs about your own limitations? How many people do you know who believe as adults that they cannot sing or cannot dance or cannot play music or cannot do math. While past experience may begin the process of ingraining our beliefs about our limitations, our own fears of failure often add to the belief. If you believe you are bad at art, chances are if you really explored your mind and examined the foundation of that statement, you might find that it is based on something said that hurt your feelings when you were a child. You might have stopped trying for fear of having your feelings hurt again. Decades later when you look at the foundation of the statement, “I am bad at art” you might find this belief which you have carried most of your life is quite shaky. In fact, it is quite possible that by having the courage to try art classes as an adult could cause you to throw out that old statement and replace it with something like, “I enjoy doing art.”
Most of the negative self-talk we have playing as background music in our minds started as record carved when we were young. If we have the courage to listen to these records and explore their origins, we might find that these negative statements are essentially baseless. Maybe it is time to be brave and look at what you really believe and ask yourself if you really do believe it and why you believe it. If your belief support system is strong and it is a belief that gives you strength then there is no need for further exploration in that realm of your mind. What about taking a look across the scary waters and setting forth to explore the land of your negative beliefs in your mind? Maybe once you reach those shores you will find that there is an opportunity to rebuild the foundations of your belief. Be brave and be an intrepid explorer of your own mind.